The Gamer’s Guide to Leveling Up: Career Edition
By Kristina Cleary, Chief Marketing Officer, Ceridian and BP Gallucci, Communications Manager, Ceridian
Career tips for leveling up by KC, gaming concepts applied by BP Gallucci!
It’s tempting to think of your career in video game terms, where leveling up is simply a matter of putting in the time – collecting more power-ups and wandering around for an extra 5k – but your life and the goals you set for yourself take a lot more than that. While there are no cheat codes in life, there are lessons you can take from the world of gaming and apply to your career. So gamers take heart. Here are my tips for levelling up in the workplace:
1. Work hard at your current level before expecting to move on up
Everyone has their ambitions in life, lists of accomplishments to achieve; when applied to your career, more often than not ambitions revolve around career advancement. You know where you want to end up and it’s at a higher level than you are now. The gaming perspective here is that all games are not created equal; some are more difficult with steeper learning curves. They aren’t mastered overnight.
Bring this insight to your career. Maybe at your first position with your company you quickly excelled and moved up but you haven’t made the next jump as fast. Instead of thinking ‘what gives?’ focus on where you are currently. Work hard at your existing job, deliver on your responsibilities, go above and beyond when the opportunities present themselves. Not only will this hard work and focus make you a master at your current level, it will lay a foundation to help in your future opportunities.
2. Create your own walkthrough
The journey you take through your career (and life!) can follow many different paths. And where you want to ultimately end up can differ from a lot of your peers and friends. Gamers can sometimes rely on walkthroughs telling them where to go and how to progress; for your career and your unique goals, you need to create your own.
This means taking the time to try to understand what is required for you to achieve your goals and breaking that work down into concrete and achievable steps. These steps form a roadmap of your career goals. Now think about timing. Develop realistic timelines and aspirations. Then communicate them to your manager and mentors.
Everyone will appreciate the time and thoughtfulness you put forth to plan and communicate your roadmap. It will provide clarity and set realistic expectations across the board. Including with yourself!
3. You need a help guide: Find a mentor
Where do you go if you don’t know which button is jump? The manual or the help in the game. Unfortunately, at work your organization is not going to provide a user manual for your career. But the same idea applies: you will need help from time to time.
The good news is people will want to see you succeed. Most often than not your colleagues are eager to help. So think about finding a mentor, a person that you can lean on for advice and help you along your journey.
4. Power ups & character buffs: Identify learning opportunities
Lots of games have ways for your character to get better built into them. The more of these power ups you collect along the way, the easier it is for you to complete your next task. Learning opportunities act in a similar fashion in real life. Knowledge is power and the more you learn the better equipped you’ll be for the challenges in your current role and ideally where you want to get too as well.
Think about your own development plan: determine any knowledge and skills gaps you may have and how you are going to build your skillset to help you be prepared for additional responsibilities. As part of your plan, identify what resources are available to help you learn. They can come in a variety of formats; there is a plethora of resources available both formally and informally.
And remember others have been down the path before you – learn from them. Respect those who have played the game and have experience.
5. Choose your character: Build your personal brand
In a lot of games, you get to pick your character at the start. That character will come with traits, skills, maybe a look and name; but unlike a game, there’s no hiding behind a random name and identity. And there’s no starting over to pick a different character. Your personal brand will be a huge part of your future, so consider carefully: who do you want to be? How do you want people to see you?
Your brand includes everything from behaviour, to style, to communication approach. Be self-aware, and work on defining who and what your personal brand stands for. Your brand will play a large role in your current and future success.
The good news for gamers is that attributes like problem solving, practice, dedication, curiosity, and creative thinking you might apply in your favorite games have use outside the digital arena; that with them and these tips you can end up with a high score in your career!
Kristina Cleary, or KC as she’s known around the hallways of Ceridian’s offices, leads global marketing for Dayforce HCM, the award-winning, single application for human capital management, Global Solutions and Small Business Payroll. An avid runner, when KC isn’t chasing her two children, she’s out running from conference to client site talking about what’s happening in the HCM industry.
BP Gallucci, Communications Manager for Ceridian, focuses on telling the stories of Ceridian, its people, clients, and award-winning products. BP brings the historical viewpoint of a veteran of the HCM industry, having lived through extensive changes in the industry over the past decade while working in R&D, implementation, and customer support for several HR software vendors. BP’s work can be read in Connect magazine, the Glassdoor blog, and Hr.com; his novel Lexus Sam is published by Iguana Books.